February is Heart and Stroke Awareness Month –

A Stroke is one of the main causes of adult disability: 


A Stroke is one of the main causes of adult disability and the third leading cause of death next to cancer and heart disease.

Stroke Diagram

Stroke Diagram (Photo credit: ConstructionDealMkting)

A stroke is often called a brain attack and is caused by the amount of blood in the brain.

There are two types of strokes they are as follows:-

  • Ischemic Stroke – is attributed to not enough blood in the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke – is attributed to too much blood in the skull.

An Ischemic Strokes account for eighty percent of all strokes, which happen when blood clots or other particles block arteries to the brain and restrict the blood flow severely (ischemia) this, deprives the brain cells of oxygen.

The most common ischemic strokes are called a thrombotic stroke, they happen when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one of the arteries that supply the blood to the brain.  A clot often forms in an area that has already been damaged by a disease called atherosclerosis (a disease that is caused by arteries that have been clogged by the accumulation of plaque cholesterol –containing fatty deposits;) this can occur within one or two of the carotid arteries in the neck which carries the blood to the brain and other arteries.  An Ischemic stroke can also be due to   plaque that has completely clogged or narrowed an artery.  The narrowing of an artery is called stenosis.

Hemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures.  Hemorrhages (a medical word meaning bleeding) are due to several conditions affecting the blood vessels; they are high blood pressure that has not been controlled (hypertension) and weak spots in the walls of the blood vessels (aneurysm.)  Another less common cause of a hemorrhage is AVM (a rupture of an anteriovenous malformation) a birth defect of a malformed tangle of thin-walled blood vessels.  There are two types of hemorrhage strokes.

Intracerebral hemorrhage stroke is often caused by high blood pressure that causes small arteries in the brain to become brittle which can cause cracking or a rupture (this causes a blood vessel in the brain to burst and spill into the surrounding brain tissue.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage stroke occurs when bleeding starts in a large artery near or on the membrane that surrounds the brain (this spills in the space between the surface of the brain and skull.)  This type of stroke is often recognized by a severe headache that is often caused by the rupture of an aneurysm that usually happens with age (genetic predisposition.)  After this type of stroke blood vessels can go into vasospasm (causing the arteries near the hemorrhage to constrict irrationally) this results in brain cell damage by increasing the restriction and blocking of the blood flow to parts of the brain.

The signs and symptoms of a stroke. (Symptoms usually occur suddenly and

Frequently and there are usually more than one.)

  • Numbness, weakness, paralysis of face, arm, leg, or one side of the body.
  • Aphasia – difficulty in speaking or the awareness of others speaking.
  • Decreased or blurred vision
  • Loss of balance, lack of coordination or dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Facial pain
  •  stiff neck
  • Pain between the eyes
  • Altered consciousness and vomiting

If any of the above symptoms occur it is important to obtain medical treatment as soon as possible to ensure that the stroke victim receives prompt treatment to prevent the severity of the stroke causing permanent damage.  A transient ischemic attack has the same symptoms as a stroke; they do however only last for a few minutes to twenty four hours and usually disappear without leaving any permanent effects.  Some people however may have more than one and should take it as a sign that a full blown stroke could follow.

The good news these days is that fewer people now die of strokes than in the past.  The reason for the improvement is in the awareness and the control of major risk factors.

For more information.




Copyright Sylvia McGrath first written in March 2007 updated February, 2013

**Please note: that this is just to serve as an information resource, this is not to be used for diagnosis.  If you have any medical concerns or questions, please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.


About writingmama

Sylvia McGrath ~ AKA Writingmama, a freelance writer from King City, Ontario has worked in the business field for about forty years obtaining business management experience and business writing skills. She also spent several years in social work for Children’s Services. Now retired is living her childhood dream of being a writer. A few years ago Sylvia decided to take a course in freelance writing, which she really enjoyed as it was the key to follow her dreams. Since completing the course, she has worked as a professional writer, a published poet and co-authored a book with Two Maximum Life Coaches about living with chronic illness; this is titled After The Diagnosis: The Journey Beyond.” She also co-authored an E-Book of Resources for the parents of children with special needs, chronic illness and learning challenges titled “The Treasure Chest of Resources,” part-one has already been sent to the Canadian National Library Archives. Sylvia has also written several articles on chronic illness for the following online sites. •www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/writingmama •www.helium.com/users/32475 •www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=Writingmom Besides working as a freelance writer, Sylvia still finds time for two other passions of hers; to volunteer as a literacy tutor for her local Learning Centre, and assist in facilitating of workshops on disability awareness. Her main mission for the future is to write a series of books for young adults and children who have learning challenges and suffer chronic illness. At present she is also the co-owner and columnist for “Professor Owl’s Newsletter” which is published on-line monthly for children.
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One Response to February is Heart and Stroke Awareness Month –

  1. Pingback: Check out the Neuroaid Site - A Stroke Survivors Story

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